|Thomas Larson: Author, Journalist, Lecturer, Workshop Leader|
Thomas Larson is the author of The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” from Pegasus Books. Saddest Music is an exploration of Barber’s Adagio, the Pietá of music, and its enigmatic composer—in celebration of the centenary of his birth. In its fall 2010 issue, The Missouri Review published the first and second chapters of Saddest Music. In 2011, this piece was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Larson is also the author of The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative, Swallow Press / Ohio University Press, 2007. In its third printing, this book is the first of its kind to evaluate the dramatic rise of the memoir in the last twenty years and to explore the craft and purpose of contemporary memoir writing. The Memoir and the Memoirist has been praised in the San Diego Union-Tribune, ForeWord Magazine, The Writer, Ploughshares, and The Bloomsbury Review.
Since 2010, Larson has taught, given readings and craft lectures, talked on publishing in the digital age, and worked one-on-one with post-thesis students in Ashland University's low-residency MFA Program in Creative Nonfiction. He is now a member of the nonfiction faculty.
In 2013, Larson is teaching an online course, "Keep the Memoir Going," at The Loft Literary Center.
New work from 2012: "After Many a Summer Still Writing My Parents," at Michael Steinberg's blog; "Let Us Now Praise Free Men," on A Free Man by Aman Sethi, at the Los Angeles Review of Books; "The Shifting Self," on Donald Morrill's The Untouched Minutes in Oxford American; and "Music, Memory, and Prose: On Joan Didion's Memoirs" in Puerto del Sol. Other essays and reviews are here.
His essay, "Disenthralled: An End to My Heart Disease," appeared in River Teeth, April 2012.
In July 2012 he was a visiting writer with the Red Earth MFA Program in Oklahoma City, OK.
Larson has led weeklong workshops and classes in memoir writing at The Loft in Minneapolis, the Ink Spot in San Diego, the Writer's Workshoppe in Port Townsend, and the Lancaster Literary Guild, Lancaster, PA, in the last two years. In 2012, he taught at Ghost Ranch, the Writers' Center in Bethesda, MD, and the Hudson Valley Writers' Center.
In 2011, Larson published two eBooks at Amazon.com: What Exactly Happened: Four Essays on the Craft of Memoir, a primer on narrative style, writers’ openings, & structuring emotion in memoir as well as a personal essay, On the Poetry of James Wright.
In his two-plus decades as a professional writer, Larson has published a new prose piece, on average, every six weeks. He has written about a range of topics, including David Shields, celebrity authors, American poetry, murders and suicides, economics, Charles Ives, San Diego politics, the memoir form, human trafficking, wild boars, classical music and jazz, his marriage & divorce, reading on screens, photography, faked memoirs, the last days of Nathanael West, life after sports, Georgia O'Keeffe, Mozart, U.S.-Mexico border issues, the memoirs of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Anne Frank.
For 13 years, Larson has been a staff writer for the weekly San Diego Reader where he has specialized in narrative nonfiction features from 4000 to 15,000 words. For the Reader Larson has written, to date, forty-eight cover stories.
Among them are several true-crime murder stories and a feature on a Salvadoran immigrant who died from neglect at a San Diego federal detention center; a profile of conservative political writer, Dinesh D’Souza; the end-of-life tale of Mark Twain’s daughter, Clara Clemens; the story of Marilyn Monroe and Some Like It Hot, filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado; an article on pit bulls, sympathetic to their point-of-view; an exposé of a Mexican girl sold into sexual slavery in San Diego county; a profile of socialist author Mike Davis; articles on the molecular origin of life, the personal motivation industry, and San Diego’s 2007 subprime mortgage meltdown; and a profile of the renowned psychologist Ken Druck, whose Jenna Druck Foundation offers support for parents who have lost their children.
In 2008, Larson’s memoir, “Mrs. Wright’s Bookshop,” tied for the Readers Award for the Essay, 2007 - 2008. The author’s memoir writing includes “Freshman Comp, 1967,” from the Anchor Essay Annual: The Best of 1997, edited by Phillip Lopate, Doubleday.
Larson lectures on memoir, the music of Samuel Barber, the craft of nonfiction, the musicians of the Titanic, the “social author” in the digital age throughout the United States, and his heart disease. He is the father of two sons, Jeremy and Blake. He and his partner, Suzanna Neal, reside in San Diego and, every spring-into-summer, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Finally, Larson was born in Neenah, WI, grew up in Middletown, OH, moved to Wausau, WI, and to St. Louis, MO where he graduated high school. He has an undergraduate degree in music composition from the University of New Mexico (1982) and a master's degree in American literature from the University of California, San Diego (1986).